A Jewish organisation has called Jeremy Corbyn a “figurehead” for antisemitism, as it prepares to stage an extraordinary protest outside Parliament against the Labour leader.
The Jewish Leadership Council also warned there were “no safe spaces” in the party for Jewish people – as it revealed Mr Corbyn had yet to invite it, or another group, to discuss the crisis.
The criticism came as the Labour leader prepared to defy a call by some of his MPs to explain himself at a meeting of the parliamentary party this evening.
Well, I doubt Corbyn is an actual antisemite, in the sense of wanting to exterminate Jews. He’s no Hitler or Stalin. No decent human being could be.
Still and all, why has it taken him so many years to deal with this accusation? I can understand criticism of the Israeli government’s policies towards Palestinians. It’s even possible to criticise the Balfour Declaration supporting the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel, but we are where we are. Being critical of Israeli policies is one thing, but it is not ok to turn a deaf ear to accusations of antisemitism. Those have to be answered directly.
Corbyn needs to explain himself on this. It’s not enough to apologise for what he called “pockets of antisemitism” in Labour, vowing to stamp it out. He needs to explain why those pockets were there, and what he means to do to get rid of them, and why it took so long to get to this point.
I get that Israeli policy towards Palestinians lacks merit. It’s vile. Maybe an Israeli state was a bad idea. Perhaps there was a better solution overlooked. But whatever bad policies are pursued by the state of Israel, that does not justify antisemitism.